Resolution in Support of Banning the Nontherapeutic Use of Antibiotics in Livestock Production



WHEREAS, eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States are used in livestock production, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that most of those antibiotics are used irresponsibly; and, low doses of antibiotics are often fed to livestock for growth promotion and disease prevention to compensate for crowded, unsanitary conditions, in a practice known as “nontherapeutic use”; and nontherapeutic use creates ideal conditions for the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria; and

WHEREAS, antibiotic-resistant bacteria on livestock operations are known to spread to retail meat, farmers and farmworkers, and rural environments; and antibiotic resistance in pathogens due to nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock production has been a public health concern since the 1960s; and antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been the cause of several foodborne illness outbreaks, including a 2011 outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella in ground turkey that sickened 136 people, hospitalized 37, and killed one and lead to the third largest meat recall in the USDA’s records, and a 2013 outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella in chicken that sickened 416 people and hospitalized 162; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that at least two million Americans suffer from antibiotic resistant bacterial infections each year and twenty-three thousand Americans die from those infections; and the medical and social costs of antibiotic-resistant infections in just one hospital for one year have been estimated to be between $13 million and $18 million; and

WHEREAS, the federal government has limited nontherapeutic uses of two classes of antibiotics, but otherwise largely relied on voluntary guidance to attempt to reduce overuse of antibiotics in livestock production, despite regular acknowledgements that nontherapeutic use and the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria poses a significant public health threat;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party supports a statewide and national moratorium on nontherapeutic uses of antibiotics in livestock production, prevention of importation of meat products where nontherapeutic antibiotics are used, and public hearings to educate the public to the dangers of nontherapeutic use of antibiotics and an opportunity for livestock producers to present any evidence for continued use of nontherapeutic antibiotics;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party will send a letter to our Democratic state and federal representatives, calling for a moratorium on the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock production, hearings to examine their use, and absent a compelling public benefit, their ultimate ban for use in livestock production.

Sponsored by CDP Resolutions Committee


Adopted by the California Democratic Party
At its Summer/Fall 2015 E-board Meeting
Hyatt Regency
August 16, 2015

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